Following a surprise vote and intense negotiations over seeking witness testimony, House impeachment managers and Donald Trump's defense team agreed on Saturday afternoon to push forward with the conclusion of the impeachment trial.
The latest: Lead House impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, announced that rather than calling for witnesses to testify before the Senate — which likely would have dragged out the trial for several more days, if not weeks — that they would instead submit a statement from GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler for the record.
Driving the news: The Senate voted 55-45 on Saturday to call at least one witness in the second impeachment trial of former President Trump.
- House managers' unexpected decision to seek witness testimony came after Beutler, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, revealed that she had direct knowledge of a conversation between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Trump during the Capitol attack on Jan. 6.
- Beutler said McCarthy described that he pleaded with Trump to go on television and call off the riots, but he refused to do so for hours.
All Democrats and five Republicans voted in favor of seeking witness testimony.
- The five GOP Senators included: Susan Collins (Maine), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Mitt Romney (Utah), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Lindsey Graham (S.C).
- Trump’s defense team was furious with the 11th-hour decision and threatened to subpoena House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a series of other witnesses. Other Republicans also said they'd drag out the trial if the House managers decided to move forward with subpoenas.
The big picture: The Senate was expected to wrap up the trial and cast a final vote by the end of the day.
- Now that it has been decided that they will not call witnesses, managers will then move toward closing arguments and could vote on whether to convict Trump by tonight.
This is a breaking story. Check back for live updates.
Of note: Shortly before reconvening for the trial on Saturday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote in an email to his GOP colleagues that he will vote to acquit Trump.